Home improvement loan not being utilized by citizens, gov’t says

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By Machela Osagboro

Antiguans and Barbudans have not been taking advantage of the EC $5 mil that was allocated to the Home Improvement Fund (HIF). The government reported that it received disappointing figures from the Caribbean Union Bank (CUB), which reflected gross undersubscription of the project.

The fund was designed for low-income earners, allowing them to borrow up to $50,000 through the CUB that is partly owned by the government. Homeowners would be able to repay said loan, which is meant for repairs to their home at 5 percent interest rate.

Lionel Hurst, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, who spoke at the post-Cabinet press briefing on Thursday, speculated that the reason for the low applications to the programme could be the existing car loans which the homeowners already have.

“People in Antigua and Barbuda have shown a preference for owning vehicles,” according to Hurst. “It is really difficult to already have borrowed money to buy a vehicle, to also borrow money to improve on homes. The bank itself said that people weren’t as forthcoming as they thought people would readily take the loan up.”

The number of applicants to date indicated that there wasn’t enough public interest generated for the home improvement scheme.

A simple application form was developed for the HIF so as to make the process as easy as possible. Part of the stipulations of the loan agreement is that homeowners must first have an estimate of the repairs, be able to prove earnings, and must be able to repay the loan over a period of 10 years.

Despite the simplified process, CUB reported minimal applications for the fund that was launched in November 2019. This project is to form part of the housing revolution formulated under the Gaston Browne-led administration.

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  1. $50000 to be repaid in 10 years is alot for workers especially government workers who would like to repair but due to salaries aren’t being increased even though the cost of living has risen. The stipulations on applying for a loan are not for minimum wage employees….

  2. I tried getting one this year after the Budget Speech by the Prime Minister and the workers there said that they knew nothing about it. They explained that they constantly get call about it but they they do not anything of that matter. Please enlighten us more. I do not have a car loan.

  3. There is nowhere I can afford a loan with a weekly earnings of $410.23. I am struggling to keep food on my table, clothes on my family back, and pay APUA monthly bills. What the PM need to do is increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour.
    Yes, I have education with a degree in Accounting and Business Administration, along with 6 CXC Subject, and 23 years job experience.

  4. Many people homes are being sold by the bank, so it’s best to stay away from bank mortgages. Section 72 of the Registered Land Act has been a bane on many Antiguan families. That law needs to be repealed and replaced.

  5. How many people in Antigua really own their own home. I mean 100%, no mortgages, ect. Back in the past, people use to build their own homes without any mortgages. My opinion is if you cant buy it cash or get a affordable rate avoid it. Here is an example. Mr A and Mr X. Mr A lives with his parents and Mr X have a mortgage. Mr A invest $2500 monthly at a return rate of 8% for 10 years and then he get married and have to move out of his parent’s house. Mr X pay a monthly mortgage of $2500 at a rate of 8% for 10 years. At the end of 10 years, he own the house. Mr A was able to buy two houses cash when he move out from his parents and live with his wife.


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